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Types of trust accounts

A trust account is an account where you (as a trustee) can hold money in trust on behalf of someone else (a beneficiary).

A trustee can be an accountant, solicitor, licensee or other person who receives money on behalf of another person and is required to account to that person.

Trust accounts operating in Queensland have reporting requirements under Queensland legislation depending on the type of trust account.

Public accountant trust accounts

Public accountants who set up and operate trust accounts in Queensland report to the Department of Justice and Attorney-General.

Learn about the role of the trustee for public accountants trust accounts.

Learn about the role of the auditor for public accountants trust accounts.

Licensee trust accounts

Several occupations licensed by the Office of Fair Trading may also need to operate a trust account.

Learn more about opening and operating a trust account as a:

Learn more about the role of the auditor for the trust account of a:

Solicitor trust accounts

Solicitors who set up and operate trust accounts in Queensland report to the Queensland Law Society.

Learn more about the solicitor trust accounts requirements.

Project bank accounts and trust accounts

On 1 March 2021, trust accounts replaced project bank accounts (PBAs) and must be established for certain building and construction contracts.

Project bank accounts were a set of trust accounts established for certain building and construction contracts to safeguard progress payments, protect retention monies, and allow for more timely payments to subcontractors.

Eligible building contracts tendered by the Queensland Government from 1 March 2018 to 28 February 2021 used project bank accounts on building and construction projects (excluding engineering projects) valued between $1 million and $10 million.

The trust account framework that replaced PBAs reduces the number of trust accounts from 3 trust accounts to:

  • a project trust account for each eligible contract
  • a retention trust account per contractor to hold cash retentions for all the contractor’s project trust contracts.

Learn more about trust accounts in the building industry and their phased commencement.